Your new movie Grinder - in a few words, what is it about?
(Tyler Austin), an innocent teenager, in search of his sexual identity, leaves
his abusive home in the suburbs for the promise of a modeling job in New York
City. There he meets Rich (Jon Fleming), an unscrupulous model
agent, and falls into the dark world of New York nightlife. Tim (Brandon
Ruckdashel), a photographer who leads a double life in spite of being engaged
to a young woman (Sarah Lazar) becomes obsessed with Luke and tries to save
Luke from his fate.
What were your inspirations when writing Grinder, and is
any of the movie based on personal experience?
of the scenes are based either on personal experience or on nightmares
I’ve had crashing on couches over the years.
you describe your directorial approach to your story at hand?
Bowling.” The trick is to hire a cast that will deliver what you are
looking for and then you as the director provide a construct for them to
work within. We had everything from the very experienced on down to a
number of people receiving their first feature credits. I’ve been lucky
with directors through the years. Many have trusted me to do my work and
stayed out of my way. I provided the same construct. I also like to work
with “Secrets,” which is one of the tools that appears throughout the
different methods. It helps to add subtle depth and subtext to each of the
characters without getting too heavy-handed with what the actors are
also appear in front of the camera in Grinder
- so did you write
the role with yourself in mind, and what did you draw upon to bring Tim to
that was not my initial intention, but such is the way some things work
out. I originally intended on only directing Grinder, but through the
adventure of pre-production I ended up doing both. Tim and his
relationship with Sarah is something I have played with a bit. Originally
this relationship appears in my first full length play Exposure. I think
people, in general, like to deal with sexuality as a black or white device
when in fact it is much more gray.
What can you tell us about the rest of your cast,
and why exactly these people?
is “gut feeling” for a response? My audition process is a little
nontraditional. I like to sit people down and do an interview. If I find
them to be someone I could listen to for fifteen minutes, with my terrible
attention span, I know the audience can stand them for longer than an
hour. That is the most important quality in an actor. They need to be
was also after something a little different. I wanted to tell this story
without using the typical LGBT clichés. Like all communities the LGBT
community is very diverse. It takes many different types and personalities
to fill out and I wanted to focus on a story where LGBT was just an
assumption and never became the focus of the narrative. The characters
“happen to be gay.” So we needed a cast that was able to achieve this
and would feel comfortable approaching the characters in this way.
Do talk about the shoot as
such, and the on-set atmosphere?
was a very small and intimate set, sometimes extremely small. In hindsight
I wish I would have had a few more hands running around and helping the
departments out, but we really never had the extra space for that.
The first three days we shot Rich’s apartment at my apartment. It was
nice to not have a truck, but it was not a great thing having our entire
light kit loaded into my back room… that was a bit much even for my cat.
had a phenomenal crew and many of them received their first feature credit
through Grinder. They all worked hard and definitely deserved it. If I
could have the same atmosphere and just scale it up a bit for my next film
I’d be a very happy camper.
As far as I know, Grinder
is your debut feature as a director, so in retrospect, what was that
experience like and how would you describe yourself as a director? And
since you have directed a handful of music videos before Grinder,
how have they prepared you for handling a feature film?
it is. I think you’d need to talk to my crew and cast to get an accurate
description of me as a director. When you are making a feature you really
don’t have a lot of time to be introspective and with our time
constraints we just held on to our knickers and ran with it. Everything
I’ve done in life has prepared me to start directing. I started doing
post production audio and mixing when I was 16, following that up with
photography and then videography. These skills allowed me to communicate
with the departments and I think that is essential for anyone who intends
on directing a feature. Without that communication you are really putting
your project in the hands of the gods... and they are not nice gods.
I think the most important experience has been my film work with Fred Olen
Ray and Jim Wynorski [Jim Wynorski
interview - click here]. The 1st ADs I worked with on those sets taught me a
lot about shooting efficiently and quickly.
was also an experience which prepared me to direct
Gravedigger interview - click here]. It was
essential that I had already done post production on a feature and my
roles on that set had also expanded past the traditional roles of a DP. At
times it was more like directing on training wheels.
$64-question of course, when and where will your film be released onto the
$64? We are in talks with a few distributors and submitting to film
festivals. I am fairly certain we will release in 2016, but these things
take their own time. At the moment I am getting started with writing my
next feature. And away we go on the next journey.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
is looking like the next film, but aside from a few outlines and drafts
we’re still in the early phases.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
think we have other social media pages… but we’ve been pretty good at
branding them so I’m sure people can find them if they want.
you are dying to mention that I have merely forgotten to ask?
for doing the interview man! Sorry it’s taken me a bit to get this
together #DCP>Hell #PostProduction
for the interview!
for being involved and supporting Grinder!